Trust in the news has increased globally amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, said a survey released on Wednesday, June 23.
Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2021 revealed that 44 per cent of respondents from across the globe said that they trust the most news stories most of the time.
"Trust in the news has grown, on average, by six percentage points in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic – with 44% of our total sample saying they trust most news most of the time. This reverses, to some extent, recent falls in average trust – bringing levels back to those of 2018," the report said.
Finland topped the list with 65 per cent of trust level, and The US found itself at the bottom of the list with the lowest level of trust in the news (29 per cent).
India Ranked In The Bottom Half
India had a below-average figure of trust level, with 38 per cent of respondents saying that they trust the news. It secured a place in the bottom half of the survey comprising 46 nations.
In the Asia Pacific, India was ranked 8th, while Thailand topped the list. The legacy print media and government broadcasters retain the highest level of trust in India.
"Despite the growing popularity of digital media with our surveyed audience, which tends to lean towards an urban and educated population, television remains the most popular source overall," the survey said. But print media emerged as a more trusted medium among Indian consumers compared to TV news.
"Among our respondents, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Facebook are widely used for news and there have been serious problems with misinformation and hate speech."
Indian respondents showed the most concern for misinformation about COVID-19 through WhatsApp (28 per cent, followed by Facebook (16 per cent), YouTube (14per cent), search engines such as Google (7 per cent), and Twitter (4 per cent). Users of social media were more likely to believe that they were exposed to misinformation about COVID-19 compared to the non-users.
"India is one of the strongest mobile-focused markets in our global survey, with 73 per cent accessing news per cent through smartphones and just 3via computer," said the report.
Most of the 600 million active internet users of the country access the internet through mobile phones. The study, however, said that 'data are based on a survey of mainly English-speaking, online news users in India – a small subset of a larger, more diverse, media market.'